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make your day dance

Arts Worrier: teaching theatre & music for dancers

February 8th, 2009 · No Comments · Tags: ········

A number of years ago, when I first started teaching as a certificated dance educator, I heard someone (I don’t know who it was) say, “Every school needs an arts worrier.”  That’s someone who worries about ensuring that the kids get a well-rounded exposure to the 4 arts disciplines.  Someone who thinks about offering comprehensive, sequential experiences in dance, music, theatre, and visual arts.  As the only certified arts specialist in my school, I was “it.”  As a full-time dance specialist, I’ve always worried about ways to connect my kids to music, theatre, and visual arts.

I’ve tried a few methods.

It was easier in the years when local arts organization offered funds for residencies. Actually, not easier, cause the toll in labor — to write grants, schedule residencies, integrate the outcomes with dance, and mount culminating events — was HUGE.  But it was easier to feel satisfied with the results.  We cycled through resident artists in music, theatre, and visual arts, and over the years, the kids had some fantastic creative adventures.

After the funding sources changed their focus from in-school to after-school options, I spent a year thinking I could do it all.  Not.  By the end of the year, even their dancing left a lot to be desired.

More recently, I’ve settled on excursions. September through December is all about dance. In January we journey into music via percussion. In February, we travel into stories and play-making. And by March, we’re glad to get back to dancing, with some great new connections in mind. Intermediate classes take assessments in dance, and then we plunge into work on our end-of-year performances — mostly dance.  Visual arts is a bit spotty, but it comes along with a wonderful guest teacher who brings her own lessons plans, whenever I have to take time out for working on State standards and assessments.

It’s a good flow to the year. Kids are excited each year to revisit the Lands of Music & Theatre. And I’m glad for the concepts and vocabulary that we bring back from our travels — all applicable to dance.

I’ll highlight some of our travels over the next few weeks…  and I’d welcome your ideas or thoughts…

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